Case for Support

Katy has no idea what she will do with her life. She has certainly never dreamed of a job within the creative sector; she’s never held a guitar, never been to a theatre or taken part in a dance class. Her dreams are limited to earning enough money to look after her mum, but she’s prepared to work hard. However, Katy is 14 and lives in one of the most deprived areas of the country. The cards are stacked against her.

Within school, she has to close a 23% gap in order to attain at the same rate as her more affluent peers. She has to endure a curriculum with an increasingly narrow focus, which ignores the value of the arts and creativity and she will be judged via a system of assessment that does not take into account her practical ability. Outside of school, she lacks the awareness and resources to access opportunities that would help her to fulfil dreams she doesn’t yet know she has; leaving her in a looming cycle of poverty with little prospect of her being able to change her circumstances.

Our ambition? We want to transform Katy’s life, and hundreds like her by equipping them with the skills, and providing them with opportunities so they are able to build dreams that have a chance of becoming a reality. And we would like your help.

This is your opportunity to support us and our partners in pioneering a dynamic programme, which will identify and nurture the hidden potential in our disadvantaged young people. Together, we will use the richness of the arts to develop a successful workforce and the entrepreneurs of the future.

Welcome to Shaping Creative Futures;

an innovative programme, which gives 14-19 year olds the tools to excel in life. Shaping Creative Futures will provide key developmental opportunities, facilitating a transformative journey and empowering young people with the skills they need to succeed.  It will ensure:

  • Our young people are ready for work; brimming with ideas, drive, enthusiasm, passion for delivery and enterprise.
  • Talent is nurtured and respected and is allowed to thrive.
  • The drive for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) does not stamp out creativity – but, complements it, forming a collaborative and seamless opportunity to excel.

In this way we see your support as an investment in the economic infrastructure, and we guarantee a positive return on that investment. We anticipate that for every £1.00 spent on this programme the local economy will benefit by a minimum of £8.00 due to the employability and skills developed in the young people involved.

Shaping Creative Futures will be delivered in a flexible, contemporary manner that takes account of the digital landscape in which we live. The end result will be a UK workforce that is; dynamic; driven; relentlessly successful and in the end, second to none. In this way it will address the current issue in which 88% of British businesses believe that school leavers are unready for the workforce and that more needs to be done to support the transition from education to employment.

Each year we will work with 100 young people who will be identified through our partnerships with groups such as My Place centres, Local Authority, Pupil Referral Units, education settings, Community and Voluntary Sector (CVS) providers, Looked after Children services, SEND services and Youth Justice teams.

Shaping Creative Futures will:

Excite.  We will use cutting edge digital interfaces for young people to upload examples of their creative talents.  Think – a 21st century Picasso or a budding Banksy.  We will also deliver a fun experiential roadshow throughout the UK and create our own Creative Careers Fair.  Successful applicants will attend a Summer School which will test their resilience to succeed.

Equip.  Each young person will be offered a menu of personalised opportunities to explore their chosen art form in depth, including; workshops; visits; shadowing; mentoring and masterclasses with leading professionals.

Excel.  We will work with all individuals to help them secure a future that is right for them.  We will support everyone in the application process of their choice and aim to guarantee an interview at one of our partner institutions.  A personalised approach will give each participant the necessary tools to prepare them for success.

Why work with us? 

Creativity is at the heart of everything we do.  Our mission is to nurture and grow creative potential.  We do this by exciting young people through inspirational access to creativity, arts and culture.  As a registered charity we have been successfully delivering this mission for over 20 years, making us a leader in this sector – and we can prove it:

  • Since our inception in 1997 we have worked with over 30,000 young people.
  • Our partners come from around the world and include; The Department of Education; English Heritage; Royal Shakespeare Company; Royal Society for the Arts (RSA); Cape Chicago; The University of Leeds; The University of Chester; London International Festival of Theatre; Comenius Reggio; West Yorkshire Playhouse and many, more.
  • We have published numerous research articles on children, arts, creativity and education that have been utilised all over the world.
  • We have worked with the British Council to develop an international programme supporting teachers to use creativity as a tool in the classroom
  • We are 1 of 10 Arts Council Bridge organisations; a prestigious role that connects the cultural and educational sector together

What our partners say about us and our work:

“It has really taken him out of his comfort zone and pushed him.  The journey that he’s been on in his own self-development and confidence is amazing.” – Mother of a male Y9 student- Stocksbridge High School

“In education we talk about ‘grey students’, students who sometimes get lost in the education system. I think what this programme has done is highlight opportunities that allow these students to shine.”- Headteacher – Ash Hill Academy

“Embarking upon the training was like lighting the blue–touch paper…we felt inspired and empowered to take a fresh look at what we were doing. We have already put in place some massive changes. The whole school is buzzing.” – Headteacher – Gill Watson

“This programme has allowed us to offer real-world learning experiences for a large number of young adults…it was fantastic to see them so engaged” – Head of Learning – Leeds Grand Theatre

“I’ve valued the way the sessions have made me feel about what I’m doing – they’ve made feel positive, empowered, happier, enthusiastic and more creative” – 16 year old creative ambassador

Why get involved?

Supporting this programme is the best thing you can do to successfully equip the workforce and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.  Put simply – that’s good business. But, the benefits don’t end there.  All of our partnerships are unique and tailor made.  By teaming up with us, you could:

  • Increase sales and gain competitive advantage by being associated with the UK’s leading arts and creativity charity.
  • Access our expertise and develop a corporate creativity programme.  All programmes are tailored to fulfil your needs, which might include; team building; conflict resolution or problem solving.
  • Share the benefits of our dynamic and highly regarded brand and reputation.
  • Increase your corporate exposure and engage new audiences.
  • Gain access to our extensive research and analysis material on children and young people.
  • Improve staff motivation and enthusiasm through our volunteer and mentoring programme.

If you would like to learn more, or for feedback and ideas please contact the team on:

0113 322 3050 or email

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